Native American Flags – The Yankton Sioux Nation

Published on June 21, 2012 by Amy

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The Yankton Sioux Nation
The Yankton Sioux Nation

The Yankton Sioux reside on a reservation of aaround 37,000 acres (AID, 43) is South Dakota near the southeastern corner of the state and bordering the state of Nebraska. The Yankton Sioux, current population just under 2,000 (Ibid) constitute one of four distinct branches of the mighty Sioux nation (ENAT, 222-228). In their native dialect, they refer to themselves as “Nakota”, differentiating themselves from groups which refer to themselves as “Lakota” or “Dakota”; but all three terms mean “allies”. Officially, the Yankton Sioux Tribe is called “Ihanktonowan Dakota Kyate” in the local dialect.

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The Yankton Sioux, or Nakota people, adopted a unique tribal symbol on September, 24, 1975. With minor alterations this symbol serves as seal, logo and flag.

The flag is red and bears designs in yellow thereon (photo provided by The Flag Research Center, Winchester, MA) . Toward the hoist, reaching from the bottom hoist, is the calumet or peace pipe in a very modern, stylized form. The tip of the calumet just touches the top center of the flag at an angle. This angular section of the calumet recalls the figure of a Nakota tepee (“Yankton Sioux Official Tribal Insignia – The Design”, undated flyer).

The fly end bears two yellow stripes, the upper one coming in from the fly end and terminating in a curved tip. The lower one starts at the center of the flag and goes toward the fly end again ending in a curved, but less drastic, end. When one looks atthe design, one can see the letters of the alphabet “Y” and “S” standing for Yankton Sioux.

Crossing the yellow portions of the flag approximately one-third from the bottom is an undulating red line. This symbolizes a “prayer” to bind the home in love and safety. Red was chosen by designer Gladys L. Moore, a Yankton Sioux from Union Lake (Ibid), Michigan, because it is a symbol of life.The color red was painted around the lower parts of tepees to indicate that those that visited would be fed or that that particular tepee was one of several in which a feast was to be held. The combination of life and friendliness was an image the artist wished to convey. Yellow signifies happiness in the home to the Sioux and Ms. Moore wanted the impression of a happy, friendly tepee in the sun.

When used in print form as a logo or seal, three legends are added to the flag design. Above the first yellow bar is added a yellow stripe bearing “Yankton Sioux Tribe” in black; across the fly center a second yellow bar is added and it bears the phrase “Land of the Friendly People of the Seven Council Fires”. Finally a short yellow bar is added toward the base of the fly and it contains the year 1858, the year the Yankton Sioux Reservation was established. Both these last two inscriptions appear in black, just like the first one.

On the flag, the writing appears directly on the flag’s red background without the addition of extra yellow bars.

Source: tmealf Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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